Off Course

"Big E"runs aground

He had guided one of the largest ships afloat through eight months and 46,500 uneventful miles at sea. Suddenly Captain Robert J. Kelly, at the helm of the carrier U.S.S. Enterprise and a mere 1,700 yds. from voyage's end in San Francisco Bay, felt what he called "a very deep feeling in the pit of my stomach." His 1,123-ft.-long, 75,700-ton nuclear-powered vessel had veered out of its 42-ft.-deep channel and slid to a stop in 29 ft. of water.

For more than five hours, the huge flattop sat ignobly in the calm water, stuck in the mud of the bay....

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